If you are the type of athlete who likes to look good without having to spend a whole lot of money, then the Polar M200 is your new running watch. Few other devices offer so many features and provide so many style options at such a low price. How low? Read on.
But let's say you're not the vain type. You aren't all that worried about how your running watch looks. You're totally okay with the fact that most devices are all-black all the time. Even if you're that sort of person, the Polar M200 would be worth checking out.
Why? Well, for starters, the watch pairs GPS tracking with what's called an optical heart rate monitor. Basically, the M200 can sense your heart rate from your wrist, so you don't have to wear (or buy) a chest strap.
The M200 is also an activity tracker, capable of recording your steps throughout the day. With the press of a button, you can tell whether you're on pace to get in enough steps during the day—which is especially helpful on your off days.
Speaking of buttons, the elegant interface includes just two of them—one left, one right. Generally speaking, right means "confirm," and left means "go back." With just these two buttons, you can navigate through the watch's extensive menus and features.
Polar M200 Features
What are some of those features, and how can they help you run better? They include:
Distance tracking. Know how far you've gone and how fast you're going on every run. The watch also tracks your altitude, so you can show everybody how tall that dang hill was at mile 3.
Heart rate monitoring. Get a real time view of how fast your ticker is thumping when you're out on the roads or trails. And use the "My HR" feature to take your heart rate at any time, no matter what you're doing—even if you're sitting in your cubicle.
Personalized coaching. The watch is compatible with Polar's Running Program, which can draw up a training plan for your target race based on your activity level to date. Once the plan is in place, you don't have to think about what workouts you should be doing on what days. The Polar will tell you—and even give you feedback during your workouts.
Smartphone compatibility. Get alerts when you receive text messages from friends. You'll never be out of touch or miss an important message.
Waterproof construction. Want to swim? No problem. The watch is built to handle it.
Multiple sport profiles. Not just a runner? Not an issue. The M200 offers a wide variety of sport profiles, allowing you to record your workout data whether your cycling (indoors, outdoors, or off-road), hiking, walking, strength training, or doing nearly anything else imaginable in the gym. With more than 100 sport profiles to choose from in Polar Flow, you can even find a profile for aqua fitness.
A battery that will cover reeeally long workouts. With the GPS and heart rate monitor enabled, the M200 has the juice to cover up to six straight hours of training.
And what might be the coolest feature of all? The M200's design is seriously fashion-forward. Also: You can get several cool colors!
The Polar's wristband comes in five different tones: red, aqua, yellow, white, and of course the old standby, black. And best of all, your choice is non-binding. The watch's face can be removed, so you can swap it among the different colored bands as you see fit. New bands are available for $19.95.
Which brings us back to what really makes this watch exceptional: Affordability. With all of those features, the Polar M200 costs just $149.99. It's rare to find a GPS watch with built-in heart rate technology anywhere near that price point.
And when you consider that most GPS watches require you to wear a chest strap for heart rate tracking, and that strap can cost $50 or more, the M200 becomes an even better deal.
The Polar M200 is available at Polar.com.
Photo Credit: Getty Images // Thinkstock